Chapter II: The Angel
My eyes flew open (had they ever been closed?) and I inhaled deeply, though my lungs felt no satisfaction. I was reminded of that moment, when you’ve been underwater, and your head finally crashes through the surface. I blinked, looked around, and tried to slow my breathing.
I was still surrounded by white, but I could make out that the space I currently occupied was not nothing, but a giant white room. Small windows ran the perimeter of where the wall and ceiling meet, allowing rays of sunlight to filter in. I was lying on a large, comfy bed, the sheets thick and white and rumpled from where I had startled awake. As gently as I could, I pushed the covers off my body and set my feet on the cold floor. It was then that I noticed what I was wearing.
I was not wearing the jeans and T-shirt in which I had fallen asleep in. Instead, I was wearing a dress. Well, actually, ‘dress’ seemed to plain for this article of clothing. Whoever had designed the dress designed it in a “Lord of the Rings” elf-style. The top of the sleeves were set just off my shoulders and belled out in a fit of lace around my wrists. The bodice was tight fitting and decorated with intricate silver designs. The skirt flowed freely from my hips down and ended in a small train behind my ankles.
No one on Earth wore this style of clothing anymore. So, logic would say that I’m not on Earth. And that begs the question: “Where am I?”
“Ah, Sleeping Beauty has awakened, has she?”
I spun around. There, leaning against a corner was a man. He was tall, with golden skin and hair. His eyes, too, were a light caramel brown with a gold ring around the pupil. He was dressed in a very tight fitting white T-shirt and loose white pants. He, like I, was barefoot.
“And as much as I’d love to answer your question,” he continued in a deep British accent, “I can’t.” He paused. “You know, I’m very surprised right now. Nearly all people who come through here start freaking out, wanting to know what has happened. But you’re not afraid, are you?”
“I know what I did; I know what happened. It seems like this situation wouldn’t be too far off from what would come afterwards.”
“Don’t tell me you don’t have other questions?” He arched an eyebrow.
“Am I… in Heaven?”
“That's basically the same question." He frowned. "Not quite. More like… Heaven’s waiting room.”
It was my turn to frown. “Do you mean Purgatory?”
“No,” he chuckled. “No, my dear, you are not in Purgatory. You know, of all the first questions I thought you’d be asking when you woke up, “Where am I?” didn’t top the list?”
“A close second?” I guessed.
“Rather a distant third.”
“Okay, let’s try again. Who are you?”
He smiled. “That’s number two. I am an angel. Your angel, specifically.”
“Like… a guardian angel?”
“No,” he said. “Guardian angels are meant to guard you in your... earthly form.”
“Obviously I’m not in my earthly form. Am I dead?”
“Yes and no.” He pushed himself away from the wall and began to walk towards me. “It’s a little difficult to explain right now. I think as we progress in our journey, you’ll discover the answer for yourself.”
“Shouldn’t I be dead? Why am I here?”
“Ah, we have a winner! That would be the number one question. Why are you here? Why haven’t you simply passed on from one world to the next?” He turned to leave through a door that I hadn’t spotted previously.
“Wait!” I cried. I picked up the dress skirt in both hands and followed him. He had stopped right in front of the door and I nearly crashed into his back. He turned around and I realized just how tall he was. At five feet ten inches, I prided myself on my height, but this Angel was nearly a foot taller.
“Curious to find some answers, love?”
Our eyes locked and I temporarily forgot how to speak. I nodded.
He held out his hand and I placed mine in it gently. “Then follow me,” he whispered.